Engines on offer at launch (there will be an M version in due course) are the 840i petrol (340 horsepower, rear-wheel-drive), the 840d xDrive (320hp, four-wheel-drive but RWD biased) and the M850i xDrive (V8, 530hp, four-wheel-drive but ditto). Do not confuse the M850i xDrive range-topping Gran Coupe with the M8 Gran Coupe, which is a different kettle of fish entirely. Confused? You’re not alone. But we can save your brain cells: you’ll not be wanting an M8 Gran Coupe. If you want M8 raw dynamics you’ll buy the coupé or convertible versions, not a four-door, longer-wheelbase hot coupé/saloon thing.
We drove the standard 840i Gran Coupe with rear-wheel-drive (plus the M8 Competition Convertible, the review of which will be coming soon…). For most motorists, 340hp will be enough, even in a car weighing nearly two tonnes. BMW’s smooth power delivery from the new straight-six petrol engine and competent eight-speed automatic transmission means there are no frustrating peaks or lags in power and torque (500Nm), and the chassis is sublime: BMW’s motorsport-derived knowhow from the M8 GTE means the traction control is phenomenal, allowing enough latitude to play with the rear wheels under pressure, but not so much that the driver loses control easily. The ride in Sport mode is very clever, combining tougher damping and quicker responses with enough comfort for everyday driving.
There are M Sport brakes as standard and active steering, as well as an M aero package to help keep you tethered at speed.